I have had a complicated relationship with my nose since the age of 10 when some kids in my class nicknamed me “the nose”. I’ve gone from hating it as a child and teen to accepting it as a young adult to hating it as an adult to living with it to hating it and back 1,000 times. I promised myself when I was a kid that as soon as I had the means, I would buy myself a nose job.
Two weeks ago today, I fulfilled that promise! After a year of talking it to death with Anel, meeting with surgeons, and saving up, I finally did the one Big Scary Thing that I have wanted for literally decades.
The new nose: When I first met with my surgeon, I told him that I want to look like me but without the big bump. I was very specific in telling him that I didn’t want a tiny nose that made me look like a different person. He said that he totally understood and wouldn’t make it too small or change my face in a way that my kids wouldn’t recognize me. I love how it’s turned out so far even thought it’s still swollen and healing. It feels very natural and not over the top. It’s me… just enhanced! I’m only sharing profile photos so far because the front is still in rough shape to be completely honest.
The decision: Making the choice to get major elective surgery is not one that I took lightly. This was a long time coming. Anel had been against it for a long time because he loved the way I looked, but ultimately realized how much happier I would be which was the most important thing to both of us. His one caveat was that I talk about it with my therapist ahead of time which I’m really glad I did. We talked through how to tell my kids and how to handle any online backlash. She made me feel even more confident in my decision.
I made this decision for me. For no one else. And that’s why I’m proud of it. Before my grandmother passed, she told me that she always regretted not getting a nose job. I thought about her a lot in this process.
How I picked a surgeon: I met with three plastic surgeons locally recommended by friends and the internet. I ended up choosing mine based on his process (less invasive), the vibe of the office (I wanted to feel comfortable with everyone there), and his before and after examples. If you’re local, I’m happy to share his information.
The surgery: The operation itself was quick. I was under anesthesia for an hour and a half. Going under always makes me nervous (I’ve already had two sinus surgeries and my wisdom teeth out) so the anesthesiologist gave me an IV with anxiety medication when I started to panic and shake. As soon as that settled in, I was fine and the next thing I knew, I woke up disoriented, exhausted, and with what felt like 100 tons of pressure on my face. Not a ton of pain, just pressure.
During the procedure, my doctor shaved down my dorsal hump (the big bump on my nose) and shaved a little down on either side to make it more proportioned. He did the surgery using an ultrasonic saw so he didn’t have to break my nose like they used to do for rhinoplasties. Because of that, I thought the recovery wouldn’t be terrible… lol.
The recovery: I’m not going to lie, the first week was intense, and I am still quite swollen in my cheeks and nose. Again, the pain wasn’t the issue. I ended up not even taking the prescribed pain medication, instead just sticking with regular Tylenol. But it was incredibly uncomfortable. My entire face was swollen and I had two giant black eyes. My eyes and cheeks were really puffy and tender and I couldn’t breathe through my nose at all for the first 4 days.
Two days after the surgery I woke up and couldn’t even open right right eye! It looked like I had been run over by a bus. I iced constantly, rested a ton, and took arnica like it was my job, but these things take time no matter what you do.
My body always has a hard time after anesthesia so I was really tired and dizzy for the first 4-5 days. I had it done on a Thursday so that I could have Friday-Sunday to recover but I found that by Monday I was still having a hard time lifting my kids. By Tuesday I was a lot better but it took a full five days to get there.
One of the roughest parts of the recovery is that I’ve had to sleep sitting up at night to prevent more swelling. The post-op instructions were to just sleep with my head elevated but the pressure becomes really intense if I don’t sit almost all the way up. If you haven’t slept sitting up lately, may I recommend not doing it anytime soon. I’m exhausted from not sleeping well which wasn’t something I was anticipating.
Recovery from rhinoplasty takes a full year, but the first month is when most of it settles and the swelling goes down. Every day it looks and feels a little better than the last.
Flying to Florida last weekend was definitely not a great idea but I couldn’t move the trip or the surgery so when the doctor cleared me, I decided to go. I brought a kids’ insulated lunchbox full of ice packs and iced my cheeks and nose for the entire flight each way. That helped a lot.
Talking to my kids: The number one hardest part of all of this has been what to tell my children. Luca is young enough that he wouldn’t understand the concept even if I tried, so that was an easy one but Amalia is older and an impressionable young girl. What we ended up saying is that I needed another nose surgery (nothing specific) and that my nose might look a little different afterwards but I will still be me. I’ve already had two sinus surgeries and Anel had one so she is used to it in a way. I’m not lying to her and will answer questions if she has them but for now that has worked out.
When we finally talk about it in more depth, I will encourage her to love herself as she is but also tell her that when people get older sometimes they want to do things to make themselves feel more confident. It’s a hard conversation because of course I want her to love herself the way she is, but I understand the feeling of hating something on your own body for decades.
My kids’ reactions: I was very nervous for how they would react when they first saw me. Luca literally didn’t even notice which is kind of hilarious, and I had pre-warned Amalia about how it would look. She was great and very sweet and more concerned than scared. Granted, she’s seen both of us have sinus surgeries so she has seen the dressing and swelling before. Not as intense but similar.
She loved being my “nurse” and bringing me fresh water and ice packs for the first few days. Then she told me I wasn’t allowed to come to her soccer game because her friends might think I was a zombie…
Long story short, they were shockingly unfazed.
Telling friends & family: Once I booked the surgery, I told Anel, my sister, and four close friends. I was really nervous to tell other people because I didn’t want anyone to try to talk me out of it. I just didn’t feel like having that conversation. Eventually I told both of my parents and they were incredibly supportive of my decision. Beyond that I kept it pretty close to my very inner circle and it was nice to just have that for me. Every time I told someone new, I would feel nervous but everyone was excited for me and supportive!
Telling the internet: I knew that I wanted to be really honest and open with my story with you guys once I felt ready. I get so frustrated when public figures hide their injections, surgeries, or, lately, Ozempic intake. We have such an issue in this world with unrealistic beauty standards and being honest about how and why we look a certain way feels very important to me.
Since I had the surgery I’ve been hiding my face in my IG stories, Photoshopping my bruises, and posting old content, but I announced it yesterday on Instagram and had a bunch of friends message and call me to say congratulations. I was so nervous that the response would be negative and/or hateful and so far it’s been so kind and loving and supportive. As always, I’m so appreciative of your support and the community we’ve all created here together.
So that’s my story! I’ll share more photos on social media from all angles as I continue to heal.